It’s the religious
leaders sitting outside the country who have always guided the
Church movement in India. Very
often their spiritual guidance is cosidered as a dictate for these
organizations, because of their control over financial assistance
provided to them.
The annual Home
Ministry Report, Receipt of
Foreign Contribution by Voluntary Association, and the available
Church literature in the country seems to substantiate the view that
there exists a strong link between foreign funding and Church and
para-Church organizations here.
Even a glance at this
bulky Government report, spread over nearly a thousand pages,
indicate that over 80 per cent of the voluntary organizations
receiving foreign aid are in fact Christian organizations engaged in
spread of the religion, either directly through propagation or
indirectly through social service.
And these organizations consume the bulk of the foreign
Even the topmost
donor agencies are major Christian funding organizations.
In case one is not aware of the nature of the funding agency,
the name itself becomes self-exaplanatory.
One could hardly have any doubt over the objective of the
funding agencies whose name appears in the list of 25 major donors
of the report. For the
year 1997-98, the Christian Children Fund from the US topped the
list with Rs 64. 78
crore is followed by Evangelische Zentralstelle (EZE ) from Germany
with Rs 59 crore; Foster Parents Plan International, US, with Rs
55.45 crore; Missio (International Catholic Missionary Work),
Germany, with Rs 48.9 crore and Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH), Germany,
with Rs 46 crore.
Have a glance at some
of the other donor agencies of the list: Rs 37.54 crore from the
World Vision International, US; Rs 27 crore from the Age of
Enlightenment Trust, Britain; Rs 23 crore from the Inter Church Co-ord
Committee, Netherlands, Rs 21.
45 crore from the International Planned Parenthood
Federation, Britain; Rs 20 crore from Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM),
Germany; Rs 19.9 crore from the Opere Don Bosco, Italy; Rs 19. 4
crore from the Christian Aid, Britain; Rs 19.1 crore from the
Zentralstelle Fur Entwickshilfe (ZEF), Germany; Rs 16 crore from the
Bread for the World, Germany and Rs 15 crore from the Mission
If one looks at the
annual report of previous years, these organizations (mentioned
above) seem to have been dominating the list, of donors, be it the
top five or the top 25 donors.
Only one Hindu and one Buddhist organisation appear in the
list, namely the Maharishi Ayurvedic Trust, Britain and Sokagakkai
A glimpse at the list
of donor agencies indicates that the top five agencies have been
dominated by those donating funds for the propagation of
instance, the top five for the past four years have been restricted
to the Foster Parents Plan International and Christian Childrens
Fund from the US, EZE, Missio, Misereor (Catholic Bishops Fund for
Overseas Development) and KNH from Germany.
In this decade till now, the top five donor agencies have
donated Rs 1,344 crore.
It should be noted
that in 1995-96, the first four positions were held by organizations
from Germany, while in other years, at least three were from
Germany. This decade
alone between 1991 and 1998, Germany has donated Rs 3,091 crore to
Indian organizations of which nearly one-fourth came from-EZE,
Missio and Misereor-which are known for giving patronage to
Christian organizations. The
Foster Parents International and the Christian Children Fund both
from the US have pumped in more than Rs 612 crore this decade.
In some cases the per annum donation has increased manifold,
which can be directly linked to the grand plan to increase the reach
of Christianity to every nook and corner of the country.
For instance, the per annum contribution of EZE increased
from Rs 21.46 crore in 1991-92 to Rs 59.03 crore in 1997-98, an
increase of over 275 per cent.
However, the most significant increase has been that of the
Christian Children Fund from the U.S., which increased from a mere
Rs 15.44 crore to Rs 64.78 crore a jump of 420 per cent.
themselves are mind-boggling. The
top five donor countries this decade have been the US, Germany,
Britain, Italy, and the Netherlands, and have been traditionally
known for their support to Christian organizations.
According to available figures, voluntary donations from
these countries this decade have totaled more than Rs 10,000 crore.
Now let’s have a
look at the purpose why
this money is being sent to India.
The purpose as revealed by the recipient seems to
substantiate the argument that the money being pumped into India is
solely to spread and increase the influence of Christianity, where
more than 80 per cent of the population is Hindu.
The top five purposes as mentioned in the Home Ministry
report have been rural development, health care, and family welfare,
care of orphans, help to the poor and construction and extension of
schools and colleges. The
Indian Christian organizations have been known as pioneers in the
fields mentioned above. It
is only in the last few years that a few NGOs have ventured into
As during this
decade, the Church and para-Church organizations in India have been
placed emphasis on serving the poor in the rural areas, (which is
strongly mentioned in Mission Mandate).
The donation in this category of help to the poor has jumped
from Rs 58.74 crore in 1991-92 to Rs 210.06 crore in 1997-98.
Similarly, the contributions in health and family welfare
sector have more than doubled, from Rs 112.1 crore to Rs 306.3 crore
and that in Rural Development from Rs 132.3 crore to Rs 279.91 crore.
Shifting the focus
from the donors to the recipients again strengthens the argument
that a conversion agenda underlies Christian development in India.
Being aware of the present Indian arrangement, one can hardly
guess how much money funnels into the country through other
channels, when the official ones have so much to reveal.
Though in the last
couple of years a few other organizations, particular the Hindus,
have emerged as one among the top recipients of foreign money, still
the majority of them seem to be Christian organizations and some of
them are known for openly propagating the message of Christ.
Just like the donor
agencies, the list of top 25 recipient agencies is dominated by the
Christian organizations in India, including three from the top five.
For instance, the Foster Parents Plan International has
received Rs 210.79 crore between 1991 and 1998, while the world
Vision International received Rs 195.24 crore and the CSI Council
for Child Care Rs 158.46 crore.
Some of the prominent Christian organizations featuring in
these annual lists, include Christian Children Fund, Karnataka;
Family Planning Association of India, Churches Auxiliary For Social
Action, Delhi; Missionaries of Charity, West Bengal; Watch Tower
Bible Tract Society of India in Maharashtra; Gospel for Asia in
Kerala; Indian Society of Churches of Jesus of Jesus Christ in Delhi
and the India Campus Crusade for Christ in Arnataa.
All of them have received at least Rs 12 crore per annum.
A glimpse at the list
of the 12,198 associations that received donations to the tune of Rs
2,864.51 crore in 1997-98 indicates that an overwhelming number of
these are Christian orgnizations and many of them have openly
engaged in the evangelization.
For example, the Delhi-based Indian Evangelical Team
mentioned in the list of recipients of foreign funds proudly
proclaims in the Mission Mandate that it converts 2,000 people every
year. According to it,
the annual budget is Rs 40 lakh, of which 60 per cent is raised in
India and one can be sure that the balance of 40 per cent came from
foreign countries. Similarly,
the Living Hope Missionaries have converted 2,000 people in the last
five-year and has planned to build 100 house Churches.
In Tamil Nadu the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, which has
been receiving foreign contributions, claims to have converted 3,400
people annually. These
organizations have been named just to focus on the symbiotic
relationship between foreign donations and Christian activities in
A large chunk of this
money has been going to the Southern States, namely Tamil Nadu,
Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
In addition, Delhi and Maharashtra have also been among the
top recipients of these donations.
The top five states that are recipients of voluntary funds
this decade have been Tamil Nadu (Rs 2,365 crore) followed by Delhi
(Rs 2086 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,691 crore), Maharashtra (1,516
crore) and Karnataka (Rs 1,486 crore).
However, in the past four decades the top five recipient
states have been Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and
Kerala. If we consider the donations going to both the Southern and
Eastern regions, then these account for most of the money.
This data regarding
recipients of donations raises yest another troubling question: if
serving the poor really has been the goal of these organizations
dominated mainly by the Christians, then why does the money go to
the States which are relatively higher in Human Development Index
and why not to the BIMARU States?
For an observer of Christian institutions in India, the
answer obviously seems to be the relatively ‘soft target’ in
these States, unlike the ‘Hindi-belt’, where Christian
evangelization has not been an easy task for many centuries.
The regional spread
of foreign money is corroborated by the following paragraphs in the
Mission Mandate by Shri M. Patrick
Joshua of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band: “The Church in India
is 65.5 per cent in South India, 10.6 per cent Christians are living
in North East India, 24 per cent Indian Christians are scattered
across the large part of North India”.
The book further
concedes that helping the poor, be it through financial assistance,
or orphanage, education, or through hospitals and other charitable
institutions, is solely for evangelization.
The book proudly refers to several such instances where
innocent poor Indians have been converted due to these underhanded
tricks and strategies. These
answers seem to be substantiated by the Christian literature
available in the market.
The Hindi translation
of the Book, How to
Communicate the Good News, writes on page 38: “one of the last
messages of the Christ is not only to propagate the message of (mukti)
renunciation, but also to engage in Baptism.
Go, give Baptism, and teach them.
Thus, he said to his students: there is a large number of
prepared crops. Thus,
request the owners of the land to send in more labourers urgently
because standing crop might not get dried or others might cut it”.
One can very easily find these similar messages in other
Christian literatures also. For
example in the Nishkalanka
magazine, (September ’98 issue), the Catholic Ashram Mandir of
Hazaribagh gave an advertisement seeking labourers for harvesting
the crop in the area. The advertisement has quoted the same
statement of Christ as mentioned in the Bible.
How effective these
relief and social welfare measures have been for propagating the
message of Christ can be gauged from an example mentioned on page
251 of the Mission Mandate, where it says that the Evangelical
Church of India has a separate department for Relief and Development
like the World Vision of India have provided them support in the
relief work. “We have
been encouraging relief and development projects through our local
Churches for the benefit of the poor young converts who are
otherwise deprived of Government jobs”.
Using the example of flood and cyclone in Chennai in October
1984, the book says: “We built a few thatched roof houses,
provided a well for them, supplied free clothing and food grains.
A place of worship was built and an evangelist was appointed
to follow them up. Several
families gave up their hearts to Christ without any pressure or
coercion from our side. More
than 20 families were Baptized the same day.
When these converts were Baptized, the new settlement was
christened as Franklin Nagar after the name of the president of
Samaritan’s Purse” (Page
One can easily
continue quoting one text or aother in favor of the argument linking
foreign funding and the spread of Christian missionary activities in
India. However, all is
not well within the Christian organizations also.
Although for an outsider, it is very difficult to get the
details on the level of corruption or other mis-appropriation of
foreign monies by them, some of the texts do provide a pointer to
A survey of Christian
educational institutions has been reported in Renewal-2000
-- A Survey of the Archdiocese of Delhi, 1997, with the results
of survey themselves explanatory.
One, commenting on the present status of the Catholic
educational institutions, stated that about 50 per cent of the
respondents feel that most, or at least the majority of these, have
become commercial institutions.
What is the attitude
of the Catholic schools regarding admission to the children of poor
Catholics? About 35 per
cent of the respondents feel that at least the majority of the
Catholic schools do not admit the children of poor Catholics.
With the annual Home Ministry report, which indicates that a
large number of Church and para-Church organizations receive foreign
moneies, and the suspicion being substantiated by the available
literature here, no one can remain in doubt about the real objective
behind their ‘social service’.